A Parent’s Guide: Your Child’s Diet and Dental Health

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Your child’s food intake in itself does not cause tooth decay and cavities. The culprit is how your child eats and does after eating. Our kids’ dental health relies more on the frequency of eating and not really on the food that they eat. It is said that almost 90% of what our kids eat contain starches and sugar. This combination allows bacteria-building plaques and harmful acids to grow. And when left in the mouth for at least 30 minutes, they begin to harm your child’s tooth enamel.

Children who have poor diets may encounter some problems with their dental development. Children require essential nutrients and vitamins such as protein, calcium and, phosphorous for stronger and healthier teeth and gums.

As parents, we ought to choose healthier meals and snacks for our kids to promote better dental health and as a whole, our kids’ overall health. We are not staying that snacks can no longer be given. Snacks as a vital part of our kids’ daily food intake. Two snacks a day will help in the daily nutrition requirements of your child which is needed for his or her overall development. You can give your child some cheese, veggie sticks, fruit slices, or yogurt as a snack.

Sugar: A Love-Hate Relationship

All sugars are fundamentally the same in terms of their effects on the teeth. Foods that contain sugar, processed or natural otherwise, can cause your child to have tooth decay. Eating sugary snacks like hard candies or drinking a sugary fruit juice can lead to the same cavity-causing bacteria if these snacks remain in your child’s mouth longer. Eating bread, crackers, chips, or other cooked starches can also be as harmful as a sugary snack. Some cooked starches are even harder to remove in the mouth than sugar does. We know that we cannot stop our little ones from eating these kinds of food. If they do, we recommend that these be eaten with a meal to lessen the impact on their developing teeth.

Helpful Tips for Parents

1. Consult with your child’s dentist to help you review your child’s food intake and diet.

2. Give your child a healthy, balanced diet.

3. Save sugary foods and starches for mealtimes.

4. Choose nutritious snacks and limit it to just two times a day.

5. Be a smart and healthy grocery shopper. Avoid buying sugary treats.

6. Do not put your young child to bed with a bottle of milk, formula or juice.

As a closing, we leave you with this helpful statement and tip from Dr. Stephen J. Moss, a pediatric dentist in New York, USA: “No food is really ‘bad’ for children who don’t snack often, brush twice a day with a dab of fluoride toothpaste and protect their back teeth with sealants.”

Sources:

Diet And Dental Health, MouthHealthy By American Dental Association Https://www.mouthhealthy.org/en/az-topics/d/diet-and-dental-health

Fast Facts 2013, American Academy Of Pediatric Dentistry Https://www.aapd.org/assets/1/7/FastFacts.pdf

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